Thursday, July 17, 2008

Training: For Night Outings

Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:50 pm Post subject:


It is not surprising that the shama will not readily chai at night. By 7 pm it is bedtime for him and unless a bright light is left on at home he will go to sleep by this time. If you take him to a gathering at 8pm or later, he will be going to a place to compete that is completely outside his experience both in terms of space and time. Further, the journey in the dark will have frightened and stressed him.

A bird that will chai in the daytime may not necessarily chai at night if it is not used to doing so. For instance, if Rooster had been at Blk 534 Ang Mo Kio on the morning of Sunday 11 June, he would have seen Quest performing well at the shama gathering there. Although, this was the first time that I had placed him in a gathering of shamas, he has become more or less used to travelling in the daytime and he is courageous. Although he did not sing and display last night his courage may be seen from the fact that even though this was his first outing at night the "white flower" on his back remained open and he would still occasionally flick his tail and whistle. With frequent travel at night he should soon become used to it and if I want to train him for night gatherings I can leave a bright flourescent light on in my home at night for 2 hours or so before again bringing him out to chai.

As I have mentioned, Quest is going to molt soon and his form is coming down. There are certain signs that indicate to me that this is so. For one thing, a bird that is in good condition and has been singing well, like Quest, will gradually reduce the frequency of his song as he approaches the molt. Also, the feathers and especially the wing feathers will start to lose their shine. Finally, did you know that when a male shama is in top form, the inside of its beak will turn from a light flesh color to a very dark purple, almost black. Well, this is so and when it is going to molt, the inside beak will lighten over a period of time until it becomes flesh colored. The inside beak of a shama in top form can also lighten within a few hours if the shama is stressed.

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